Game Design

Hi-Rez Studios bringing cross-platform play to Smite, Paladins, and Realm Royale

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 16 November 2018 - 11:32am

The PlayStation 4, however, is notably absent once again from the list of platforms supported in the move. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gnome Stew Notables – Caitlynn Belle

Gnome Stew - 16 November 2018 - 5:11am

Welcome to the next installment of our Gnome Spotlight: Notables series. The notables series is a look at game developers in the gaming industry doing good work. The series will focus on game creators from underrepresented populations primarily, and each entry will be a short bio and interview. We’ve currently got a group of authors and guest authors interviewing game creators and hope to bring you many more entries in the series as it continues on. If you’ve got a suggestion for someone we should be doing a notables article on, send us a note at – Head Gnome John

Meet Caitlynn

Caitlynn Belle is a queer game designer and writer from Savannah, Georgia. You can find her Patreon at where she makes so many weird games about sex and feelings.

Talking With Caitlynn 1) Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work. 

My name’s Caitlynn Belle, I’m a queer games girl from Savannah, Georgia, and I mostly release small, experimental games through my Patreon ( and at 2) What project are you most proud of?

Ugh, it’s hard to pick. I like them for different reasons, but if I just had to pick, then I’ve got a game called Kirigami Dominatrix Display Simulator which is about being a hologram domme and using stationary tools like pens, scissors, paperclips, and so on, to metaphorically sexually dominate a sheet of paper, which represents your client. You enact consensual sadism on the paper this way, and I really just think it’s a clever bit of immersion, how you get to physically damage something in creative ways and use that to journey through a sexual experience.


3) What themes do you like to emphasize in your game work? Sexuality and identity, I think, are the big ones. I want games that represent me and I want to do my best to put games out that represent others. I want spaces to talk about sex in a safe and healthy way and I want to explore identity and self-expression and what it means to really dig into yourself and figure out who you are, year after year. 4) What mechanics do you like best in games?

I appreciate finding interesting ways to divine outcomes other than dice or cards, anything quirky that ties back into the theme of the game somehow (Jenga towers for tension / fear, for example), and to be honest, I really like just pure narrative storytelling. Games like Fiasco where the structure of the game enables you to just wheel out and say whatever. I don’t like randomizers much in the games I play – my friends and I are used to creating characters and arcs and just driving towards their conclusions with as few speed bumps as possible.

5) How would you describe your game design style?

Sexy and weird. Just like me. But for real, all I’m trying to do is give you interesting things to say and interesting ways to say it. I think if you have that as your foundation, your game stands a much better chance of being awesome. I try to be authentic in voice, so it sounds like me and the image of the game I have in my head is the same image you get in yours, and I try to let my excitement for whatever it is I’m giving you shine through.

6) How does gender/queerness fit into your games?

They’re all tools to tell stories about queer identity. There’s things you feel weird or like an outcast over that you shouldn’t, but there’s no media for you, nowhere to explore people like you, and I want to start normalizing the idea of having cool gay characters do cool gay things. All of these games are coming from a girl who’s still on her own adventures, figuring out gender and love and who she is, and I think those themes are apparent in the text. I know very, very few people who aren’t exploring feelings about themselves in at least some tiny capacity, who they are and how they’ll express themselves, and that’s a real, honest, vulnerable thing, and I really want to see those kinds of characters out there as well.

7) How does the process of making small games influence your design?

It lets me latch on to any tiny idea I get and give it a proper home and just enough space to breathe and be a thing. You get small ideas sometimes and they can’t fill a larger game – just these little inklings of plots or rules – but they fit wonderfully on a three-page game that focuses in on a single experience. You get small ideas sometimes and they can’t fill a larger game – just these little inklings of plots or rules – but they fit wonderfully on a three-page game that focuses in on a single experience. Share3Tweet+11Reddit1Email There’s a lot of things that I couldn’t make into a larger product but I don’t think that makes them less valid. Like, I legitimately feel the 200 word RPG challenge that David Schirduan puts out each year has made some of the best games in our community, and I mean that sincerely. They’re beautiful, wonderful games, powerful and captivating, better than most anything in our collections or up on Kickstarter. But, making smaller projects lets you really focus in on what an idea needs and how you edit, and what you should be editing, and it helps strengthen your writing overall. I try to follow these small ideas to completion each month or every other month and it lets me play around with a lot of strangeness that would otherwise drown in deeper pools.

8) How did you get into games? Who did you try to emulate in your design?

I’ve been roleplaying and playing board games forever, so eventually I took the next logical step and tried to make a game I wanted to play that I hadn’t seen yet. My brother played D&D, and when I was little, I didn’t understand how they were playing a game with no board and why they were talking so much and all the funny dice, so even back then I was trying to pick apart social interactions to form it into a cohesive whole? Which I think sounds a little heavy for a little girl to be doing? But like, I just love taking things apart and seeing why they’re working the way they are, and why people make the choices they do. Once I got an idea of what roleplaying was I just kept doing it forever and ever! As far as who I try to emulate, my secret goal is to make a game that Jason Morningstar really loves. I really like Jason’s work, it’s well-written, thoughtful, and fun. I feel like he’s got a really good handle on how to present a product and how to structure play towards a type of story, and how to do that with as few tools as possible, and that’s something I really admire. I like to picture him as some kind of lich, and only by stealing his phylactery and drinking in his soul will I understand his methods.

9) What one thing would you change in gaming?

How games look. We’ve got this vision of a roleplaying game as a thing with character sheets and dice and rules for doing skills and progression towards conflict and violence. There’s very little space for games that don’t want that – games that have weird formats or physical requirements, or that don’t want to tell stories about conflict and fighting, or games that don’t want to engage in long-form campaign play. They don’t get the same kind of attention and it makes for a drab, textureless playing field. I would really like to see games that just throw everything out the window and tell more personal stories, or find other ways to engage in narrative besides the same tools we’ve been using for decades.

so many games!

10) What are you working on now?

A million billion things – I’ve got a collection of tiny games about goblins, and they’re all dealing with things like intimacy between friends, processing death, body image and self-esteem, consent and boundary issues, etc. I wanted to take a traditional mindless monster and show them in vulnerable moments. My bigger project though is a game about telling the story of a world left to grow outside of its bounds after society left it: you play as the landscapes and memories instead of people (as it’s an overgrown apocalyptic jungle at this point) and build a narrative about what life used to be. It’s proving really challenging, because I have to consider how one might portray blades of grass or forgotten songs, and what that looks like in play! But I think it’s a sweet game and I hope people will like it!

11) Who/what games are some of your influences?

Jason Morningstar’s stuff for telling stable, structured, fascinating stories out of sparse, thoughtful tools – his larp Juggernaut is absolutely excellent and is easily one of the top ten storytelling games of all time. Ross Cowman, especially Fall of Magic, because Ross’ games capture a sense of wonder and heartbreak that just destroys you. We play Fall of Magic once a year and every time it’s just this fucking experience, this thing that sends chills down your back and keeps you up at night. It’s so good. Everything Ross touches is gold. Meguey Baker’s wonderful seasonal games are just magic, too, just dripping with mischief and wonder and crystalline imagery. Emily Care Boss’ romance trilogy, for taking romance seriously and giving you just really fucking great games to explore them with, Epidiah Ravachol’s Vast & Starlit for just being the most concentrated genius you can fit on a business card, I could write entire essays about that game. Ben Lehman, though I don’t get to play his games as often as I like, he always writes things that make me stop and reconsider what I’m doing and how it could be better, just these great little bits that form a much greater whole. I could really go on and on naming all these people I love. Everyone makes great games. Play every game.

Thanks for joining us for this entry in the notables series.  You can find more in the series here: and please feel free to drop us any suggestions for people we should interview at
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Superseeds: The Other Side, Part Three

RPGNet - 16 November 2018 - 12:00am
Finishing a look at The Other Side.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Despite China's game freeze, mobile game revenue is still on the rise at Tencent

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 15 November 2018 - 12:19pm

Tencent†™s game business saw a rise in mobile game revenue during the third quarter of the company†™s fiscal year, though PC game revenue fell by 15 percent during that same period. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Demystifying the Design & Dev Consultant - by Mike Ellis Blogs - 15 November 2018 - 8:39am
There can be a lot of questions, misunderstanding, and misconceptions about working with a Design & Dev Consultant. Find out how working with a consultant should work and what a good consultant can bring to the table.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Discord's digital storefront now supports early access games

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 15 November 2018 - 8:28am

The community chat app Discord is bringing an early access program to its recently-launched digital game storefront. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Curtis Campion, Newfound Courage: Diversity and Inclusion in Games - by Jessica Paek Blogs - 15 November 2018 - 8:25am
This week, we sat down with Curtis Campion, who is making Newfound Courage, to talk about telling relatable stories and the importance of inclusion in gaming.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

@Play 87: Interview With Josh Ge, Creator of Cogmind - by John Harris Blogs - 15 November 2018 - 8:13am
Interview with Josh Ge, Creator of the sci-fi, robot-focused roguelike Cogmind, about it and many things about its design and creation.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gnomecast #53 – Thankful for RPGs

Gnome Stew - 15 November 2018 - 5:58am

Join a whole stewpot full of gnomes ready to share their Thanksgiving messages with you. We at Gnome Stew and Misdirected Mark would like to thank you, all our podcast listeners and blog readers, for making this the best year in gaming yet!

Download: Gnomecast #53 – Thankful for RPGs

Keep up with all the gnomes by visiting, following @gnomestew on Twitter, or visiting the Gnome Stew Facebook Page. Check out Gnome Stew Merch, and support Gnome Stew on Patreon!

Follow Ang at @orikes13 on Twitter and find her in the Misdirected Mark Google+ Community.

Find Troy at his blog The Dungeon Delver.

Follow J.T. at @jtevans on Twitter, J.T. Evans on Facebook and at his website

Follow Jared at @KnightErrant_JR on Twitter and his blog What Do I Know?.

Follow Phil at @DNAphil on Twitter and see what he’s working on at Encoded Designs.

Follow Camdon at @camdon on Twitter and

Follow Matt around if you can find him.

Follow Tracy at @TheOtherTracy on Twitter and at his website

Follow John at @johnarcadian on Twitter and his website


Categories: Game Theory & Design

Get a job: Choices dev Pixelberry Studios is hiring a Senior Software Engineer

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 14 November 2018 - 12:48pm

The Pixelberry Studios team in Mountain View, California is looking for an experienced Software Engineer to play a part in architecting new features, troubleshooting issues, and more. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

China's ongoing game license freeze prompts decline in market forecast

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 14 November 2018 - 11:21am

The market analysis firm Niko Partners has adjusted its 2018 forecast for PC and mobile game revenue in China, dropping those predictions by 3.8 percent and 2.4 percent respectively. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Making a Game Into a Book – Editing

Gnome Stew - 14 November 2018 - 8:00am

I’ve worked on the publishing side of tabletop RPGs for almost seven years, now. One part of that process which is newer to me is one that I think is the most vital: editing. A good editor will help a game designer take make sure their words shine. And that means doing a lot of different things.

Today I’m going to talk about those things in brief. Truth be told, there’s an entire article series that could be devoted to just editing. To do that, I’m going to use a project I’m working on right now: Turn, by Brie Sheldon (live on Kickstarter now.)

What Does Your Writer Need?

To start with, I set up a call with Brie to discuss how I would approach the edit, what my philosophy is, and to find out what his expectations were. This is so important. Everyone who edits text is going to approach things differently and I wanted to make sure we were on the same page.

My single biggest goal when approaching this game is to make sure of two things:

  • That Brie’s voice as a writer is maintained and enhanced
  • That someone who isn’t Brie will be able to run Turn without Brie at the table, just by reading the book

Those two things are the core of editing for me. Every game is different, as every writer is different. As well, every game should be able to help someone re-create the experience of being at the table with the creator, or to get as close as they can. That process takes a few distinct steps.

As a sidenote: if you’re writing a game, working to keep your own tone in mind and writing to ensure the game doesn’t need you at the table are important, too. Those things from the writer make the editor’s job much easier.

The Big Steps

This is an oversimplification because some of these steps happen concurrently, and there are lots of different terms people use. However, editing a game can be broken up into a few distinct types of editing:

  • Developmental Editing
  • Copy Editing
  • Proofreading

Developmental Editing is the most in-depth. It take a sort of birds-eye view of the text and make sure that all of the information that needs to be present, is present. It can mean moving chunks of text, rearranging entire sections, suggesting re-writes, additions, subtractions, or even telling a writer that they need to go back and think through their entire work again.

Copy Editing looks at the grammar and style. This is where you figure out which terms are going to be capitalized, if something is bolded the first time it appears only, or every time, and you generally concentrate on polishing the text itself. This is making sure that the words the writer used are the right words to get everything across.

Proofreading is all of the fine detail of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This is often the last step before the game text is declared final and sent to layout.

With Turn, at this point, I’ve gone through the first part of the developmental edit. That means I’ve read through the entire game, I’ve broken it down into chapters, I’ve rearranged sections to ensure the content flows logically, and I’ve given Brie a bunch of edits to accept (or reject, as is the writer’s prerogative), and comments where I think more work might be needed.

As a game writer, I can tell you that this is the most difficult part of having a game edited. In my world, anyway. I’ve never been great at editing my own work. I long to be done with what I’m writing as soon as I’ve finished the first draft and, for a goodly while, the thought of going back and making revisions was anathema to me. I’ve since learned better, but it’s still difficult to receive edits on my work and see that I have so many changes to make.

Like a Refining Fire

That’s the thing about having an editor on your project, though: editors make games better. Editors help you take your text and turn it from a set of notes you can use to run a game into a book other people can use. That’s some alchemy, there. It’s a difficult process, for certain, but it’s absolutely worthwhile.

Being on this side of the edits is different and I like it. Having had my work edited before means that, at nearly every turn (har), I’ve tried to make sure that Brie knows that I love what I’m reading and that my changes are just to make his great game into a great book. I think great editors need to actively be cheerleaders for the book because getting it there is hard. Knowing your editor wants you to succeed is so, s important.

Lastly, I’m going to give a huge shout-out to Bob Everson, the Unsung Gnome. If you don’t know his name, it’s because Bob is the editor for all of our posts here at Gnome Stew. He’s also my editor for Iron Edda: Accelerated. Bob’s fingerprints are on every post you see here, even when the writing isn’t happening until the day the post is due (hi, Bob!)

What d’you Think?

What are your experiences with being edited? How open are you to having other eyes and hands on your work?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wase Qazi, Megastorm Games: Community Building Through Twitch - by Jessica Paek Blogs - 14 November 2018 - 7:01am
We’re kicking off our collaborative article series, where we sit down with game developers and help tell their stories. The first installment comes from Wase Qazi, developer of Skyhook and Shotgun Farmers.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Ingredients for Developing a Digital Wargame - by Vincenzo Pirrottina Blogs - 14 November 2018 - 6:58am
The first and most important step to create an interesting and playable digital wargame is to choose the right ingredients.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Oversharing About Overriding - by Zulu OneZero Blogs - 14 November 2018 - 6:56am
The why and how of using the overriding directive in game programming
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Risks of Making Safe Games - by Josh Bycer Blogs - 14 November 2018 - 6:56am
Today's post looks at how the bar continues to be raised for design and aesthetics, and what that means for working on the next "big hit."
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Restless – Making A New Conversation UI - by Florencia Minuzzi Blogs - 14 November 2018 - 6:50am
An analysis of the UI and text effects in Restless. Explores factors to be considered when creating new UI – from button shapes to speech bubble layout – as well as ways to create a positive reading experience using text effects.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Balancing challenge and collaboration in Final Fantasy XIV's raid battles

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 November 2018 - 1:18pm

Combat Designer Yoshito Nabeshima explores the process of designing (and later overhauling) a Final Fantasy XIV raid boss. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2 lead nominees for The Game Awards

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 November 2018 - 11:12am

The Game Awards has listed the games nominated for honors in the event's coming 2018 award show, with both God of War and Red Dead Redemption leading the pack with a total of 8 nominations each. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

VR for the Game Music Composer: Audio for VR Platforms - by Winifred Phillips Blogs - 13 November 2018 - 7:34am
Game composer Winifred Phillips looks at developments with VR platforms & their SDKs, focusing on audio issues. Included: Soundfield for AR, Spatial Sound for AR/MR, audio improvements in the Vive & Oculus SDKs, & audio for the new untethered platforms.
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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